SportsEvents Magazine

JAN 2018

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www.sportseventsmagazine.com January 2018 49 t SPORT Report Ryan said, which is why that site was chosen. "The Games helped add an additional two million names to the registry, and at a minimum, Texas has doubled their registry since 2014," Ryan said. Burke confirmed that by 2016, the number on the state's donor list had climbed to 8.8 million. When she attended the 2014 Games to see the fruits of her successful bid, the importance of the event hit home again. She watched as the mother of an eight- year-old boy in a wheelchair jumped into the pool, placed him on her chest and swam so he could complete the 50-yard backstroke to the delight of a "screaming and hollering crowd," Burke said. "It's a celebration of life as much as it is about medaling." Celebration of Life Dianne Miller, a liver transplant recipient, knows firsthand what it's like to experi- ence the Transplant Games as an athlete. After suffering acute liver failure caused by a viral infection, she spent 45 days waiting for a healthy organ. In a coma for most of that time, Miller remembers being able to hear some of what was going on around her. Her doc- tors had all but given up hope, preparing to cut off the machines keeping her alive, when she said her husband told her a liver had been found. "I'm in this dark world," Miller said, "and I realized I'm going to make it and I cried." After Miller recovered from surgery and rebuilt her strength, she said she looked up the Transplant Games on the internet and submitted her name to Team Arizona. Her impressive involvement as an athlete is evidenced in the 18 records she has set as a competitive swimmer and transplant recipient: seven world records and 11 American records. Her background in teaching made her naturally suited for coaching and she served as the swim team captain and as one of the team managers for both the Transplant Games of America and the World Transplant Games. "Watching others succeed and watch- ing their success" is what Miller said she enjoys most about being involved. "The person who comes in last is cheered on louder than any other athlete. We're so elated, we just can't stand it." Like many others involved in the Transplant Games and organ donation, Miller said the biggest challenge is in- creasing awareness. "My biggest wish is to get televised like the Paralympics and the Special Olympics," she said. "If we could get on television, that would really further the cause." To register as an organ donor in your state, visit OrganDonor.gov/register. html. To learn more about the Transplant Games of America, visit Transplant- GamesofAmerica.org. n

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